A novel noninvasive technique for pulse-wave imaging and characterization of clinically-significant vascular mechanical properties in vivo

Ultrason Imaging. 2007 Jul;29(3):137-54. doi: 10.1177/016173460702900301.


The pulse-wave velocity (PWV) has been used as an indicator of vascular stiffness, which can be an early predictor of cardiovascular mortality. A noninvasive, easily applicable method for detecting the regional pulse wave (PW) may contribute as a future modality for risk assessment. The purpose of this study was to demonstrate the feasibility and reproducibility of PW imaging (PWI) during propagation along the abdominal aortic wall by acquiring electrocardiography-gated (ECG-gated) radiofrequency (rf) signals noninvasively. An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) was induced using a CaCl2 model in order to investigate the utility of this novel method for detecting disease. The abdominal aortas of twelve normal and five CaCl2 mice were scanned at 30 MHz and electrocardiography (ECG) was acquired simultaneously. The radial wall velocities were mapped with 8000 frames/s. Propagation of the PW was demonstrated in a color-coded ciné-loop format all cases. In the normal mice, the wave propagated in linear fashion from a proximal to a distal region. However, in CaCl2 mice, multiple waves were initiated from several regions (i.e., most likely initiated from various calcified regions within the aortic wall). The regional PWV in normal aortas was 2.70 +/- 0.54 m/s (r2 = 0.85 +/- 0.06, n = 12), which was in agreement with previous reports using conventional techniques. Although there was no statistical difference in the regional PWV between the normal and CaCl2-treated aortas (2.95 +/- 0.90 m/s (r2 = 0.51 +/- 0.22, n = 5)), the correlation coefficient was found to be significantly lower in the CaCl2-treated aortas (p < 0.01). This state-of-the-art technique allows noninvasive mapping of vascular disease in vivo. In future clinical applications, it may contribute to the detection of early stages of cardiovascular disease, which may decrease mortality among high-risk patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aorta, Abdominal / diagnostic imaging*
  • Aorta, Abdominal / pathology
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal / diagnostic imaging*
  • Blood Circulation
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Calcinosis / pathology
  • Electrocardiography
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Models, Cardiovascular
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / pathology
  • Pulsatile Flow*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Color